Begin with putting together a wedding folder
Go through bridal, lifestyle, fashion, gardening, design magazines, etc. as well as books and Pinterest for inspiration.
Determine a budget
Figure out how much you are able to spend, based on contributions from your family and your own.
Choose who you would like in your wedding party
As soon as you‚Äôre engaged, you should think about who you would want to help you tie the knot.
Start figuring out the guest list
Start a spreadsheet that you will use throughout your planning process, with fields for name, contact info, RSVPs, gifts, and any other important information. Unfortunately the easiest way to cut down on costs is to reduce your guest list.
Hire a wedding planner if it is in the budget
Ask around because you never know who has a connection to a great planner.
Pick a wedding date and your venue(s)
Decide on if you would like a destination wedding or local, as well as if you want the ceremony and reception at the same venue, etc.
Research officiants, photographers, bands, florists, and caterers
Contact your top choices and set up meetings.
If you would like, throw an engagement party
Keep in mind that the people you invite should also be on your wedding guest list.
Eight Months Before
Hire the photographer and the videographer
Be sure that the people you hire have good referrals and you know the timeframe as to when you will receive the video and photos of your wedding.
Time to book the entertainment
Whether you choose to have a band, orchestra, or DJ always ask to see a video of their work and/or check them out at a live event before you choose to hire them.
Meet caterers and have a food tasting
This is the favorite part of wedding planning for most couples! Typical wedding venues offer their own catering service, but if not begin looking for one now and hire the service you like best this month or early the next.
Purchase the wedding gown of your dreams
You‚Äôll need to schedule time for at least three fittings after your dress comes in.
Reserve a block of hotel rooms for your guests
It's smart to go ahead and choose three hotels at different price points close to or at the actual reception venue.
Register for your wedding
Sign up at your favorite retailers or online. Try to choose places with many different price points. For example, Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy's and Williams-Sonoma.
Create a personalized wedding website
Create a personal wedding page for free at a popular website such as TheKnot.com. Display information such as the date of the wedding, travel information, and accommodations. Then make sure to send the link to all invitees.
Seven to Six Months Before
Purchase invitations (save the date and wedding)
Try to go with a particular theme if you'd like. For example, starfish invitations for a beach wedding. Send your Save the Date invitations during this month.
Begin planning your honeymoon
Get a passport or make sure it's up to date if going out of the country.
Choose the bridesmaid dresses
Ensure at least six months for the dresses to be ordered and sized.
Meet with your wedding officiant
Go through the ceremony details and documents you need to have with
Book a florist
Florists are capable of serving multiple clients on one given day, which is why you can wait a little longer to hire one. Plus, you should have a distinct idea of your wedding color scheme.
Arrange transportation for you and your guests
Consider limos, minibuses, trolleys, and town cars depending on your location.
Start making a day-of timeline
Start mapping out a schedule of your wedding day and put in each component (wedding toasts, the first dance).
Five to Four Months Before
Book the rehearsal dinner venue
Negotiate the cost and go over the menu.
Select and order the cake
Some bakers require a long lead time. Do a handful of cake tastings before committing to any one baker. This should be another fun wedding planning task!
Send your final guest list to the host of your shower
Think of a theme and be surprised and have your host choose the theme of your bridal shower.
Buy wedding shoes and start wedding dress fittings
Make sure to bring your shoes to your first fitting so the seamstress can make your dress the appropriate length.
Schedule hair and makeup artists or a salon
Make some appointments and take photos at each so you can compare results.
Choose your wedding music
What should be playing when? During the bride and groom entrance, your first dance, cake cutting, etc. Keep track of your must-haves and do not play list.
Three Months Before
Order favors and welcome bags
Monogrammed cookies are always a nice treat. Figure out what you would like to include in your welcome bags for your out-of-town guests, if desired.
Make a list of the people giving toasts and/or doing readings
Who would you like to have speak at the ceremony and/or reception. This is the time to ask them.
Purchase your undergarments
And schedule your second wedding dress fitting.
Print and/or create ceremony programs
Finalize the order of the ceremony and have programs made or do it¬†yourself, if desired.
Purchase your wedding rings
This will allow time for resizing and engraving.
Send your event schedule to your wedding vendors
This allows plenty of time for feedback and adjustments.
Two Months Before
Contact all the vendors
Make sure any questions you or they had have been answered at this point.
Meet with your photographer(s)
Discuss specific locations, people, and other details you definitely want photographed¬†on your wedding day.
Review the playlist with the entertainment
Although you probably won't be able to dictate every single song played, you should still have a wish list.
Send out your formal wedding invitations
The typical rule is to mail out invitations 6-8 weeks before the ceremony, setting the RSVP deadline at 3 weeks after the postmark date.
Have a bachelorette party!
Coordinating a fun outing with your friends generally is the maid of honor's task. If nothing has been mentioned by her then feel free to ask since this is typically when you plan one.
One Month Before
Confirm RSVPs and out into spreadsheet
Call people who have not yet responded.
Get your marriage license
The process is fairly simple and can take up to six days depending on where you live so do your research and plan accordingly.
Visit the seamstress for your last fitting
Just in case, you may want to schedule a dress fitting the week of your wedding. You can always cancel if your dress fits perfectly at that time.
Stock the bar and confirm final guest count
Now that you have a head count you can plan accordingly.
E-mail and print directions for drivers, vendors, etc. and confirm arrival times
This gives the chauffeurs and vendors ample time to navigate a route and be on time.
Put together a seating chart for the reception
Make sure you are putting people together that you think would be most enjoyable for them, if possible.
Buy your bridesmaids‚Äô gifts
You usually gives these out at the rehearsal dinner.
Get your hair done, if desired
Week of the Wedding
Reconfirm arrival times with all vendors! Delegate wedding day tasks
Choose the best person for each task. For example, someone to bustle your dress, someone to carry your belongings, someone to be in charge of gifts, someone to hand out tips, someone to direct vendors, etc.
Send a timeline to the bridal party
Make sure they understand exactly what is going on in terms of where they should be at what time and other important details.
Pick up your wedding dress!
Or make arrangements for a delivery or someone to pick it up for you.
Check in one last time with the photographer
Make sure they know the pictures you want captured that are most important to you.
Set aside checks for the vendors
Put tips in envelopes to be handed out at the event
Book a salon day
Make an appontment for a manicure and a pedicure a day or two before the wedding. A massage would be a fantastic idea at this time as well.
Send the final guest list count to all venues hosting your wedding
In most cases, places close their lists 72 hours in advance.
Assemble and distribute the welcome baskets
We recommend Bow Tie Bags do this part for you!
Pack for your honeymoon and make sure to enjoy every single moment because it goes by in a flash!